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Alternatives to El Camino Frances

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
With El Camino becoming more and more popular, some are worried that el Camino Frances will become “too crowded” and are looking for alternative caminos.

I was hoping some of you out there would have some advice as to what other caminos would be a good alternative to el Camino Frances?

El Portuguese?

Via de la Plata?

…or maybe el camino Frances is not too crowded after all if you avoid the busy summer months. Then again, the summer months are when many have time and find it more comfortable walking long walks.

Do we have any thoughts on this?

Greetings from Santiago,
Ivar
 
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sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:
Alternative camino

Whichever route pilgrims decide to try, they can get a lot of info from http://www.csj.org.uk on the ± 17 different routes to Santiago. Here are some of them:
The Camino Francés
The Coastal Route or Camino del Norte
The Camino Primitivo
The Tunnel Route
The Via de la Plata
The Camino Mozárabe (Granada to Mérida)
The Camino Portugues de la Via de la Plata
The Camino Portugués
The Camino Inglés
The Cami de Llevant or Camino de Levante
The Madrid Route
The continuation to Finisterre & Muxía
and from France
The Paris Route
The Vézelay Route
The le Puy Route
The Arles Route
The (French) coastal route, la Voie de Soulac
Nürnberg to Konstanz
The Swiss Route: Konstanz to Geneva
Geneva to le Puy-en-Velay
and other pilgrimage routes
Via Francigena (to Rome)
The Pilgrim Route to Nidaros: Oslo to Trondheim
 

Paulus

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
Ivar,

Well....I did the Frances in May this year and as you already guessed: that period is not too crowded imo.
Anyway I'm preparing for the North-Route in May 2006: I think a bit more challenge than Camino Frances and hoping for nice views and nature.
On the other hand: I think I'll miss the friendship of last year knowing that the Noth-Route is not crowded at all!

Paul
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for your responses Sil and Paul.

Just out out curiosity Paul, why do you think the northern route is more difficult? Because it has less people (and maybe less hostels and places to sleep)? ..or because of the actually walk?

The northern route is the one that goes "parallel" with el comino Frances, but closer to the coast (If I am not mistaken), and it looks like there are less mountain passes to cross... (see map below).

mapacaminos.gif

You will find a bigger map here

I am asking all these questions since lately I have been getting questions related to "alternative routes", and I am trying to get an idea of what people think would be a good alternative to the French route.

The northern route goes through the same parts of Spain as the French, so in that way it is "similar". Then again, it might have less hostels and places to sleep and also less way-markers. But if you want to walk away from the crowds, maybe the northern route would be a good alternative to the French?

Greetings from +2c Santiago (my house 8.00am)
Ivar
 
ivar said:
it looks like there are less mountain passes to cross

yes, depending on which 'northern route' you're talking about. If you mean the coastal route via Ribadeo, it does not go over any mountains at all and is much lower-level, though there is a lot of up and down. The highest point is once you leave the coast, going over the Galician hills to Santiago. I've added highest point to my database of routes (or at least to some of them), which gives an indication. peterrobins.co.uk/camino/

ivar said:
The northern route goes through the same parts of Spain as the French

no, it does not go over the Pyrenees, does not cross the meseta, and does not cross the Cordillera Cantabrica (again, assuming you mean the coastal route). The scenery is very different.

ivar said:
Then again, it might have less hostels and places to sleep and also less way-markers

only the Frances has enough hostels to provide for every night. On other routes, you must mix with other accommodation. The other routes are like the Frances was 15-20 years ago before the current camino-mania.
 
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Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

Paulus

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
ivar said:
Just out out curiosity Paul, why do you think the northern route is more difficult? Because it has less people (and maybe less hostels and places to sleep)? ..or because of the actually walk?
Ivar

Ivar,
I got some info from Anette which has a beautiful site ,also in English, at
http://www.raunsbjerg.dk/.
Of what I understood from her is that the difficulty has more than one aspect: less refugio's, less pelgrims, less locals who understand what you are doing and more tourists near the great places at the coast but also hard to walk because of the lots of up and downs esp. the beginning first trajects from Irun (when you not warmed up!).
Well..... I certainly will report my own experiences but you'll have to wait for it till begin of June 2006 :D :D

Paul
 

ivar

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks for the link Paul, the northern route seem like an interesting alternative to the French. But as you (and Anette on her website) say, it seems a bit tougher to walk.

The northern coast-line of Spain is beautiful, below is a picture from "Los catedrales" just west of Ribadeo.

playa_de_catedrales.jpg


Looking forward to your feedback once you have experienced it yourself. :)

Ivar
 

Paulus

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (May 2005), Norte (May 2006), Vezelay (2007).
Ivar,

Thanks for the words!
Very nice picture there............... wish to stay there at windforce 11 :D :D

Paul
 

sillydoll

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2002 CF: 2004 from Paris: 2006 VF: 2007 CF: 2009 Aragones, Ingles, Finisterre: 2011 X 2 on CF: 2013 'Caracoles': 2014 CF and Ingles 'Caracoles":2015 Logrono-Burgos (Hospitalero San Anton): 2016 La Douay to Aosta/San Gimignano to Rome:

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